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Encouragement for the Journey 22 / 4 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow traveller, 

Because I was on leave for the past week, I decided I would commence writing this on Tuesday 3 April; I am curious what the next three weeks will hold for me, our church community, our nation and world.

Your will be aware I am expecting my brother out from England, and together with my son and son in law we are walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. That is the plan.

Future thinking is a strange and mysterious experience, we can have our hopes and dreams, but ultimately we need to live in this moment.   Robert Lax (American Poet) who lived over thirty years on the Greek Island of Patmos. Wrote in his journal of 22 July 1969

To be enlightened is not to shine: nor to bring multitudes to hill where one sits cross – legged, to listen. It is to know what one is doing (or even, perhaps, to enjoy it)

I really like his thinking, for we have complicated life and faith, setting faith apart in a compartment of its own, within our lives. Then we set about striving to meet its perceived standard, which is impossible to reach. When all the while, life is passing us by, constantly offering us its precious invitations to live and indeed to enjoy life, alas, we are too busy to see, hear and receive, never mind to RSVP.

I recall Jesus saying something very similar; I have come that you might have life, life in all its fullness. That to me is being fully alive, to know what one is doing, to see, hear, feel, smell, taste and touch life as we travel along its journey. When this happens we have come truly alive in God and God is alive in us. I leave you with these words of Mary Oliver, from her poem “Five a.m. in the Pinewoods”:

So this is how

you swim inward,

so this is how

you flow outward,

so this is how you pray.

Meanwhile Peace in the awareness of life

Alf

PS. ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but, in seeing with new eyes.’  – Marcel Proust

 

April 26, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 1 / 4 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Today is Palm Sunday. A time to celebrate as we recall the well known story from our Christian tradition, of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and the crowd celebrates. Yet, each year, after I read it I want to find something new within its familiar images.

This year was no different, and there it was staring me in the face. In Luke’s version of the story, we find people took off their cloaks or coats and threw them on the ground in an act of celebration and joy at Jesus entry into Jerusalem.

Reflecting on the idea of taking off one’s coat, I saw a very powerful imagery of openness and experiencing the moment. I readily accept that I could well be projecting my own thoughts and feelings into the story.

But, nevertheless, imagine for a moment, you are going out to dinner, it’s a very cold evening, you decide to wear your winter coat. Arriving at the restaurant, which has two Michelin stars, you are welcomed and invited to take off your coat which is carefully placed in the cloak room on a coat hanger, after which the maître d’ shows you to your table. Imagine having a meal in such a restaurant wearing your heavy winter coat, unthinkable.

For some members of the crowd that day as Jesus rides on the donkey, their heavy cloaks / coats inhibit their participation, they shed them and enjoy the celebration.

On our journey of life, we each have some things that inhibit or prevent us from fully participating in the adventure of life, perhaps a negative attitudes that we need to throw at the feet of Jesus, so we may celebrate and participate in the wonder and mystery of life. I leave you with a poem from German poet Rainer Maria Rilke:

The Swan

This clumsy living that moves lumbering

as if in ropes through what is not done

reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks

And to die, and to die, which is the letting go

of the ground we stand on and cling to everyday

is like the swan when he nervously lets himself

down into the water which receives him gaily

and which flows under and after him wave after wave

while the swan, unmoving and marvellously calm,

is pleased to be carried, each moment,

more fully grown, more like a king, farther and farther on…

 

Meanwhile Peace in the Dignity of Difference

Alf

 

 

April 3, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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